Monday, January 31, 2011

FO - Annis

I finished Annis.

Its a great pattern, with a lovely mix of more complex lace, followed by simple stocking stitch.
I love the yarn, both the colour and the texture, and the price. Thank you Miss Babbs.

I love wearing it. Happiness all around, basically.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sometimes you just have to...

So the Annis shawl is coming along nicely. I've finished the lace and am doing the stocking stitch short rows. Its hard to tell how much further I have to go because of the shaping makes it not obvious, but there may be some real knitting opportunities, particularly on Saturday, when we are going to Raw Comedy at the Corner hotel - if you are in Melbourne, feel free to come join us. $10 gets you four hours of comedy, varying from hilariously funny to hilariously bad. Last year I got a chunk of my Clapotis knitted during the same event, so this year I may get Annis finished. Which brings me to my point: what am I going to knit next? Given that the weather is finally warming up I know what I should NOT knit - a chunky handspun jumper in one piece. Specifically Owls by Kate Davies. But it's the only project i am interested in starting. Last week when I started getting things together for it I realised that I was about 30 meters short in yardage, so during the week I spun up another 100 grams. It nearly matches the rest of the yarn, so I'll have to compensate for that in. Last night I discovered that I don't own any 6.5 mm circulars, despite being the proud owner of two circular needle sets - the Addi Click and the Knit Pro Interchangeables. So after work today I'm going to buy the needles. I expect I will probably be casting on on Sunday or Monday. Stay tuned to see if this is a good idea, or if I'll be casting on a pair of socks in a couple of days.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Slow going




On Sunday I cast on for the Annis shawl from Knitty. It starts by casting on 363 stitcfhes. I thought that this, and establishing the first row would be the challenging parts of this shawl. It turns out that the challenge is knitting 363 stitch rows. Even though there are only 18 of the lace rows, for some reason this is psychologically more challenging than knitting 363 rows of 18 stitches each. I started the rows with nupps yesterday.
I don't mind them and am not struggling with the actually nupps, but it is slow going. In fact, last night I only did two rows, while knitting from 7pm until 10.30. Mind you I was at the pub and perhaps the beer and cider where not conductive to speedy knitting. Hopefully my stitch count is still right! I only have three more of the nupp rows left. I'm hoping to finish them today, as well as do a bit of spinning for Owls.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

FO: German Stockings





There's not much else to say about these: The pattern is Cook A amazing, the Wollmiese yarn is a lovely colour, although splitty and they were a fun knit, with only a few challenging bits.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Emergency spinning and spinning emergency


A few days before I start a project I like to do a little check, to see if I have everything I need. I tend to review the pattern, check the yarn, that I have the needles, all that sort of stuff. On Wednesday I had a look at Owls, as I am planning on casting on in a week or so. I haven't yet decided what size I'm making, nor have I swatched. I looked at the yarn requirements: 550 metres for the two smallest sizes. I looked at my 520 meters of handspun. I tried to make that maths work, and failed. So on Thursday I sat down outside to spin another hundred grams. Hopefully I'll be able to make it match.

Tarragon came and helped. This was new. He doesn't normally sit on my lap, because he likes to be on top of hands, and I'm always knitting. Because I was doing long draw it was just about workable.Eventually he got bored and left, which made spinning easier, if less furry.


This morning on the way to work I had a bit of a collision with a car. While I was lying on the road, my right foot basically under the car's wheel my first thought, my very first thought was "I hope I haven't broken my ankle. That would make spinning difficult." Luckily nothing is broken, although I do have some very dramatic bruises.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dyeing and a tiny bit of spinning

I had another long weekend so I could do a dying course on Monday. The day was titled 'dying a colour wheel in the microwave" and I had no idea what to expect. It was such fun. The first thing we dyed was a rainbow.
Then we got to go out on our own and experiment.


It was treat to be able to use Landscape dyes, they are a little more versatile than food colouring, and the lighter colours are much easier to achieve, but not practical to use in my flat, where I shall happily continue to play with food colouring.
I also learned to present them prettily:
All of this making of fibre inspired me to do some actual spinning, so this evening I have been spinning my corriadale fleece for Leon's jumper. What I've learnt is that the wool preparation takes as long as the actual spinning, so I'm off to flick some more locks to that I have something to spin tomorrow night.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

How to knit a scarf in 2 days

1) Spin the wool thick. Put the stripes right in there, it saves time later
2) Use 7mm needles
3) Hang out with some wonderful knitting peeps, eating rainbow cake for sugary, rainbow knitting energy (thank you Katie)

4) Don't forget to stop


5) Cast off
6) Make the recipient try it on, even though he is half way through cooking dinner
7) Admire and enjoy.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Handspun heaven


It's way too hot and humid to sleep, so I am doing a blog update before Leon and I watch a dvd, while Leon puts on bread for breakfast tomorrow. I'm not complaining about the heat, I love it, I'm just explaining why I am posting in a condition that might not best be described as sober.

After I finished the first German Stocking I started the second one. I knit it on Wednesday and I knit it on Thursday, I got up to the part where I have to start the super complicated 36 row cable. I realised that my plans for tonight and the weekend are not going to allow me to sit down in the silence that this cable requires. Tomorrow, far from working the cable we are going to mission clean the house. There is a weird smell wafting around, and I cannot locate the source of it. Its not the kitty litter, I changed that and applied bleach. Its not under the bed, or behind the hallstand or anywhere else. Driving me insane. But when I find it, I will kill it with bleach and fire.
Anyway, the point is (and there is a point, I promise) that I needed something straightforward to knit to take me through the weekend. I cast on Leon's 2011 scarf: a simple relieving 2x2 rib scarf made out of handspun.

Loving it. Alpaca and wool, squishy stripy goodness. I know this photo is a little bit shit - you can see my shadow. Lets just consider it artistic and get back to the knitting...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Spinning and knitting

For my first day not on sick leave, I had an annual leave day to do a class at the Spinners and Weavers Guild . They run a summer school, and I thought it would be fun to improve my skills and learn some new stuff. I was right! I did a class on spinning silk and learnt quite a lot, not just about the different types of silk - oh mulberry, how I love you - but also about how to blend, how to use a hackle and how to raise silkworms, if I should be so inclined.
I also bought this pretty red tussah silk

which I am planning to spin with this Stranded in Oz Fibre to make 198 Yards of Heaven. Shawls are definitely my current obsession Although when I am going to spin this is the question - I seem to have collected a lot of fibre in a short time, and have a "to spin" list that will take me well beyond the middle of this year.
Also I finished the first German Stocking.
The top of the cable is one of the more complex things I have knit, not difficult as such, but very fiddly. Once I was past those very slow 36 rows the pattern is relatively straight forward, with an easy to memorise twelve row repeat. Until I tried it on I was rather wondering if it was worth the effort, but now I've seen it on my leg I know that every painful, cabled, splitty stitch was worth it.
right, now I'm off to watch an episode of ER and cast on the second sock.

Friday, January 7, 2011

It's time to leave the house

It's been a very quiet week around here. I'm still coughing, but am counting myself as well, because I'm completely over being sick. Hanging around the house has given me a chance to really work on my German Stocking, which is good, because this is definitely not something I could knit drunk or distracted. As with all Cookie A patterns it is well written and clearly charted, but there are a lot of things going on at once.
I am knitting with Wollmeise for the first time. The colours are beautiful - prettier than the picture above - and it knits up into a lovely smooth fabric, but it is a little bit splitty. This has been exacerbated by how tightly I ended up knitting that cable.

Anyway, Leon and I are off to Ballarat for a wedding, where I am going to wear my party dress and my recently completed Swallowtail Shawl.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Completed Swallowtail


Or Swallotail, as I rather mysteriously named it on Ravellery.

I finished it without drama and blocked it using the blocking wires that I received with such drama months ago. The points maybe didn't hold as well as I hoped, but the yarn was 50 percent viscose, which might explain that. The lack of beads or nupps certainly isn't a problem, again the yarn was quite heavy and drapey, so more heaviness may have been a disadvantage.

Leon and I went to see Mary Poppins last night, which was on at Her Majesties Theatre, next to Chinatown. The pillar we have used as the backdrop of these shots is actually the entrance archway. It was so nice to leave the house, which I hadn't done for two days, and to leave my suburb, which I hadn't done since New Years Eve.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Not quite to plan

The first half of staycation was great. I got all the knitting done I planned, plus a pair of anklets. I saw family and friends and did everythingIi meant to - except I only got one out of four shelves tidied up. The basic problem being I have too much stuff .Where things started to go slightly off track is that just before New Year I got a sore thoat and now it has developed into a full blown chest infection. I went to the Doctor yesterday and she gave me the rest of the week off. This was the first time I have ever had a doctor put on a mask before coming near me.

On New Years Day I cast on for the Richmond knitters Swallowtail knit-a-long. I knit the 14 repeats of the centre pattern and everything was going to plan. I don't think I am going to run out of yarn, the pattern looks good in my colours and the lace was easy enough to memorise. And then I started on the border and the plan got derailed a little.

I don't like the look of the nupps, and am not sure I have enough yarn to do them anyway so I had decided to use beads. After adding the first row of the beads I realised that they were too small. They added little to the pattern and really stressed my hands out, getting them on. Now I am just purling the stitch that is meant to be the nupp, and hoping it will look okay in the end.